A Patient’s Side of Things: What Infertility Treatments Were Really Like

At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, it’s our joy and honor to help couples grow their family. It’s especially exciting when we’re able to help them have their first child together—as is the case of Jen and Melissa. The couple came to our office in April 2019, and they’re now expecting their first baby.

Both Jen and Melissa work in the medical field, so they understood the risks involved with late-age pregnancy and decided it was time to start their family.

The couple found Dr. Gelety and AZCREI based on recommendations. Melissa worked with someone who was able to achieve a successful pregnancy with his wife after visiting us for fertility treatments; and Jen had a friend who had gotten pregnant through treatments at our office as well.

Having done their research before beginning treatments, Jen and Melissa had an idea of how the IVF process would work and approximately how much treatments would cost. They opted for the chance to both participate in the pregnancy. Melissa, who will be 40 this year, was able to donate her eggs and Jen, who will turn 35 this year, is carrying the baby. That makes Melissa their baby’s biological mother and Jen his or her birth mother.

While they had done their research, Jen says she was still surprised at how much there was to learn about the female body. “[The first appointment] was overwhelming at first, very fast, and very informative,” she says. “Dr. Gelety doesn’t run on a calendar year, he runs on a menstrual calendar year.”

The treatments and process itself are both still a bit of a learning process, since neither Jen nor Melissa had ever experienced pregnancy before. “The surgeries my wife and I had to go through were the most difficult part,” Jen says. “But right now, it’s pretty easy—once you’re pregnant, it becomes easier.”

Jen believes the most painful part of the process was what her wife went through: the extraction of her eggs. Now that they’re expecting, appointments have become much more bearable. They come into the office for a weekly vaginal ultrasound to make sure their developing baby is doing well and the pregnancy continues to be healthy.

Like most couples who need help conceiving, the infertility treatment process for Jen and Melissa had its ups, downs, and challenges. “You need to have a lot of patience, and you need to have a lot of support surrounding you through this process because you are on an emotional roller coaster,” Jen says. “Just knowing that you have support, not only from your doctor and the doctor’s team, but from your family and friends, is really helpful.”

Throughout the process, whenever Jen or Melissa had questions, they got their answers during appointments with Dr. Gelety. Our team was also able to answer questions for them, sometimes when we were drawing blood or performing other tests. We wanted them to feel comfortable at every step—through every test and procedure—and we’re so excited that we’ve been able to help them make their dream of having a family a reality.

“Dr. Gelety is aggressive in his treatment,” Jen says, “but you can honestly tell that he enjoys fulfilling the role of a female being a mother, or a family having children. You can really see how much he enjoys doing this for people who struggle with having a family on their own.”

Just as we helped Jen and Melissa start their family and experience the love and joy that comes with being parents, we can help you. To schedule your consultation at AZCREI and begin your journey, visit us online or call (520) 326-0001.

A Patient’s Side of Things: How AZCREI Walked with Us Through Our Infertility Journey

Shelise and Jessica are having twins! “Our son is ready for his brother,” Jessica gushed. “He’s not excited for his sister, but he’s excited for his brother.”

The couple came all the way from El Paso, Tex., to work with Dr. Gelety and our team at Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility. We asked them to share their experience and their journey to grow their family with us.

When Shelise and Jessica decided they wanted to grow their family—Jessica has three children already, while the twins will be Shelise’s first (and second)—they began looking online for fertility doctors in their area. The couple talked to a few centers over the phone, but none gave them the confidence AZCREI did. Shelise said, “Dr. Gelety had great reviews, so we just went for it and went in for a consultation.”

At first, Shelise and Jessica were apprehensive about the whole process. “We hadn’t done any research before going into it,” Shelise said. “But he gave us the whole breakdown—like Bill Nye the Science Guy—at our first consultation, and it was amazing.”

Dr. Gelety’s knowledge and experience made the women feel comfortable. They said they could tell he knew what he was talking about, which made them eager to start the process. Jessica said, “Our first thought after the consultation was, ‘How soon can we start?’”

Early on, the couple decided Shelise would transfer eggs to Jessica, and Jessica would carry the baby, making Shelise the biological mother and Jessica the birth mother. At first, they weren’t sure if this would be possible, but at their consultation, Dr. Gelety told them it was a completely viable option—and very common among same-sex female couples. He explained the extra steps they’d need to take, such as the egg retrieval, transfer, and IVF procedures, and they began the process. 

“We had to wait until our next cycle,” Shelise said. “They timed the first three cycles, and then from there we started with the Lupron [hormone therapy shot].”

The couple achieved a successful pregnancy with the first round and is due in August 2019.

Shelise and Jessica had both hoped for twins. Dr. Gelety told them that during the IVF procedure, he would place two embryos into Jessica’s womb to make having twins a real possibility. Placing two embryos also gave them a higher probability of success in general. So, when both took, it was a special surprise!

Since Shelise and Jessica are living in El Paso, their visits to AZCREI were limited. Once they were finished with the IVF procedure, the couple relied on their doctor back home for lab results and monitoring. As soon as Dr. Gelety would receive the results from the lab in Texas, he would review them and give them a call with notes and information the very next day.

The two also note that Dr. Gelety, as well as Heather and Emily, were all readily available to answer questions and calls. “Their communication was great,” Jessica said. “Because we’re so far away, I felt like, they were as hands-on as they could be.”

When Shelise and Jessica were out of town in San Antonio, Jessica realized she needed a refill on medication. Being from out of town, the pharmacy in San Antonio wasn’t willing to fill it for her. She called Dr. Gelety to ask for advice on what to do, and he ended up calling the pharmacy directly to confirm the prescription, so she could get what she needed without missing any dosages.

It was those moments of our team taking the extra initiative to go above and beyond for them that made the entire process stress free. “We’d tell everyone to go to Dr. Gelety,” Shelise said. “He’ll take care of you.”

Just as we helped Shelise and Jessica grow their family and experience the love and joy that comes with being a parent, we can help you. To schedule your consultation at AZCREI and begin your journey, visit us online or call (520) 326-0001.

A Patient’s Side of Things: How AZCREI Helped Us Have a Baby

At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, we recognize that every patient has their own story. While infertility is a struggle they all share, their plan, solution, and path to having a baby are all unique.

No matter what the issue might be, we realize that a patient’s wishes and comfort need to come first. That’s why Dr. Gelety and the rest of our team take the time to understand each patient’s unique needs and situation before working with them to create a plan. We always give our patients a say in the process and allow them to take control of their own journey.

We asked one of our patients Kylelynne Austad and her husband, Jonathan, to share their experience with us.

After getting married, Jonathan encouraged her to visit a gynecologist because she was 19 and had never had a regular menstrual cycle. Toward the end of her first appointment, they told her she had polycystic ovarian syndrome. “I didn’t really know what that was,” she says. “After I got home, I researched it and found out I might not be able to have children, or it could be extremely hard to have children.”

Kylelynne’s doctors had never talked to her about infertility treatments. She says they pushed the subject aside. “I think knowing from them that I couldn’t have a child made me want to try,” she says.

Meeting Dr. Gelety and the AZCREI Team

She started looking for resources that could help her, and Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility was the very first place that came up in her search. She clicked and scheduled her first appointment.

“When we came in, he just sat down and was very straightforward,” Kylelynne recalls. “He was very informative and extremely helpful, and we got the ball rolling from there.”

During the first appointment, Dr. Gelety shared pictures and demonstrations and walked them through the possibilities, tests, procedures, and plans. Both Kylelynne and Jonathan say that the way Dr. Gelety presented everything was very comforting. “We just felt that we could trust him from the very get-go,” Kylelynne says.

Finding Comfort and a Feeling of Hope

When they started the process, Jonathan says he had mixed emotions. Neither he nor Kylelynne had ever gone through the infertility treatments before and didn’t know what to expect. But after the first appointment with Dr. Gelety, they both felt a sense of hope and possibility.

The information Dr. Gelety was able to provide Kylelynne and Jonathan helped them along the process.

“It was like he could predict what would happen next,” Kylelynne remembers. “He predicted we were going to have a Christmas miracle, and she ended up being born in the month of December. For him to be able to talk with confidence like that, made us feel so much more confident in him.”

The rest of the team were also very helpful throughout Kylelynne and Jonathan’s journey, especially when things got tough.

“It wasn’t super stressful, but there were times when Kylelynne would get emotional about not being pregnant after taking the pills on schedule and doing the right things,” Jonathan says. “We just had to keep trying, month after month.”

When the couple was feeling frustrated or uncertain, they always had a say in how they wanted to move forward. “He always gave us an Option A and an Option B, and sometimes an Option C, just depending on the situation,” Kylelynne says.

The two say there were a couple times Dr. Gelety even went out of his way to save them money. After five months of trying, when they still hadn’t conceived, Kylelynne says she was getting impatient and wanted to move onto IUI, which insurance wouldn’t cover. Dr. Gelety encouraged them to try one more cycle with just the medication. “He was telling me, let’s just try it one more time, and if not, I can let you guys reconsider that,” she says. “He was just very considerate.”

Having a Baby and Retaking the Journey

The very next appointment after deciding to try the medication for one more round, Kylelynne found out she was pregnant. Just over a year after giving birth, Kylelynne came back to AZCREI and is now is pregnant with her second child.

“I would say, just trust—trust the process, trust Dr. Gelety, trust the people working with him,” Kylelynne advises. “Because, good news or bad news, they’re there to comfort you and they’re also there to celebrate with you. That’s what they’ve shown us through both processes, actually.”

“I think just going through the entire process, and knowing that there’s always going to be that light at the end of the tunnel, regardless of how long it takes—six months to a year, or two years—Gelety knows what he’s doing,” Jonathan says.

“We know that if we want to have a third kid, if we decide that, then this is where we’d come back again,” Kylelynne shares. “It’s definitely a place of hope for us.”

Just as we helped Kylelynne and Jonathan grow their family and experience the love and joy that comes with being a parent, we can help you. To schedule your consultation at AZCREI and begin your journey, visit us online or call (520) 326-0001.

Patient Profile: How We Helped One Woman Overcome PCOS to Have a Baby

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common hormonal abnormalities in young women. It sometimes manifests as weight gain and excessive hair growth and will usually result in irregular menstrual cycles—which can lead to infertility.

Women are typically diagnosed with PCOS as teenagers and will begin taking a form of birth control to help them regulate their cycles. When they go off the birth control to try to get pregnant, their cycle becomes irregular again and infertility becomes an issue.

One woman, diagnosed with PCOS, came into the Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, after she and her partner had difficulty achieving a pregnancy. Here’s how our team helped them solve their problem and have a baby.

Our Initial Consultation

This patient came into our center when she realized her periods had become irregular once she went off birth control. Having been diagnosed with PCOS as a teen, she knew this was the potential issue and didn’t wait more than a few months before making an appointment for a consultation.

We knew what the diagnosis was likely to be, and we immediately started having her prepare for pregnancy—taking prenatal vitamins, monitoring her caffeine intake, and eating more nutritious foods.

Identifying the Problem

A common problem with PCOS is that it is oftentimes misdiagnosed. If a patient is having irregular menstrual cycles or having difficulty getting pregnant, and maybe they’ve gained weight, their OB/GYN will typically assume it’s PCOS because it is such a common condition. However, when we’re dealing with infertility, we want to make sure that is the actual cause, because there are other issues that can interfere with ovulation and seem like PCOS, such as thyroid problems or even excessive stress. The types of medication we use to induce normal ovulation for women with PCOS often do not work if that isn’t the correct diagnosis.

It’s important to have the correct diagnosis so the treatment can be effective. When patients come to us, we ask for their medical history, perform examinations to check their ovaries, and conduct hormonal tests to confirm the diagnosis is in fact PCOS.

Once we determined the results with this patient, we explained how the principal problem is that her cycles were irregular and her ovulation wasn’t occurring regularly. The reason isn’t because the ovaries don’t contain eggs, but rather, the ovaries are resistant to the hormonal signals telling them to release the eggs. Then we talked about the treatments to help remedy the issue and regulate her cycle.

Achieving a Successful Pregnancy

When we made the diagnosis, we put the patient on medication to treat the underlying hormonal problem and induce ovulation. Along with the process, we also made sure to check for any other potential problems (with the fallopian tubes, uterus, etc.) and with her partner to ensure nothing else would prevent pregnancy.

It was relatively easy to correct the problem of PCOS using medication, and pregnancy followed fairly quickly.

However, it’s important to understand that, in general, once we correct the problem and the patient starts ovulating, there still isn’t a 100 percent chance of pregnancy within the first month of trying. After medication, patients have the same chance as anyone else when they go off birth control and try to get pregnant. Some may get pregnant on the very first try, and it may take three to four months for others. Ultimately, PCOS is extremely treatable, and there are usually very few issues after we’ve solved the problem.

Because our patient is diagnosed with PCOS, if she decides to have a second child, she will still have to come in for infertility treatments, because it is not a condition that will correct itself. We will need to induce ovulation again before she can have another successful pregnancy.

If you and your partner have been struggling to get pregnant and you suspect PCOS might be the cause, contact the AZCREI today by calling 520-326-0001 or by visiting us online. We look forward to the opportunity to help you grow your family and have a healthy, happy baby.

Patient Profile: How We Helped One Woman Overcome Endometriosis to Have a Baby

At the Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, we specialize in helping women get pregnant when they’ve had difficulty conceiving naturally. Dr. Timothy Gelety and the rest of the team at the AZCREI were able to help one woman achieve a pregnancy after she had unsuccessfully been trying for more than two years.

When she and her husband came into our clinic, they hadn’t yet sought any treatment or evaluations. This is probably the most common scenario. Oftentimes, when patients have difficulty getting pregnant, they see their OB/GYN who completes a few rudimentary tests, and can’t determine the problem; everything seems normal and everything checks out.

That’s where we come in—it’s our job to figure out the cause of the infertility and find a solution. Here’s how we helped this couple finally get pregnant.


Our Initial Consultation

During the first visit with this couple, we talked about the odds of getting pregnant naturally. The fact that they had tried for two years without success suggested that there might be a problem with infertility. We explained the typical processes that go into achieving a pregnancy—regular menstrual cycles and ovulation, a high sperm count, no complications with the uterus and fallopian tubes—and discussed the tests we’d need to perform to narrow down what the issue might be.

This was also the time for the couple to ask any questions they had and for us to create a plan to identify the possible cause.


Identifying the Problem

To start with, we completed tests to make sure the woman was ovulating regularly and producing proper hormones. We also did a semen analysis to determine if the man’s sperm count was high and the sperm mobile. Those results were inconclusive, so we continued testing with an ultrasound and hysterosalpingogram (HSG) to check the uterus and fallopian tubes for abnormalities that may have been preventing a pregnancy.

Everything seemed normal with this couple; the woman was ovulating, there were no issues with her uterus or fallopian tubes, and the man’s sperm was normal as well. This raised our suspicion of an unseen cause of infertility, which is typically endometriosis in women in their early 30s. We then decided to try empiric treatment—in this case, several cycles of ovulation induction—to try to increase the woman’s fertility.

The patient began taking medication to induce multiple ovulations to make her more fertile than she would be naturally. We tried this for about three cycles without success, which again furthered our suspicion that the problem was most likely endometriosis.

Many patients don’t believe they can have endometriosis because they’re not experiencing the pain or cramps that women with the condition often endure. However, one of the major symptoms of endometriosis is unexplained infertility. The definitive test to determine if a woman has endometriosis is a diagnostic laparoscopy. Once we scheduled and performed this procedure, we saw that the patient had significant endometriosis, which we were then able to treat.


Achieving a Successful Pregnancy

Within the first cycle of treatment after the laparoscopy, our patient got pregnant. It’s actually very common that once we treat the endometriosis, the problem is solved and a pregnancy follows fairly easily.

Many of our patients appreciate that we treat the underlying issue of endometriosis because it typically solves the problem for any future pregnancies. There are some couples who would prefer to jump straight into in vitro fertilization, skipping the laparoscopy, and that’s an option that would typically result in a pregnancy as well. The difference, though, is that if a couple was to decide to have another child, they would have to opt for IVF again because we were never able to officially determine the cause of infertility without the laparoscopy.

Endometriosis makes it more difficult to get pregnant, but once a pregnancy is achieved, it doesn’t make the pregnancy any more difficult. The treatments we performed will not influence the outcome or the rest of her pregnancy.

Once our patient got pregnant, everything went well. We followed her through her first trimester, and now she’s off to her OB/GYN who will oversee the rest of her journey.

If you and your partner have been struggling to get pregnant without any clear reason as to why, contact the AZCREI today by visiting us online or calling 520-326-0001. Our proven success has made us one of the best clinics in the country, and we look forward to helping you overcome your infertility and grow your family.

Patient Profile: One Woman Beats the Odds and Gets Pregnant at the Age of 44

At the Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, we specialize in helping older women get pregnant, especially women who are over 40 years of age. We are almost at a 30 percent pregnancy rate for a single live birth, and our success rates with women in their 40s are consistently higher than nearby infertility centers.

As women get older, their egg production begins to diminish and the quality of their eggs also decline. Because of this, it becomes more difficult to retrieve viable eggs to use in fertilization. Once a woman has hit a certain age, many other centers will recommend using eggs donated by a younger woman. Several of the patients we work with have been turned down by other centers, so they come to us, and we are able to help them realize their dream of getting pregnant.

Dr. Timothy Gelety and the team at the Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility were able to help one woman, despite her age and other obstacles, get pregnant.

Her Story

With this particular patient, we were able to help her conceive a healthy baby using her own eggs at the age of 44. This woman had actually gotten pregnant several times, but had miscarried each time. Unfortunately, as women age, not only is it more difficult for them to get pregnant, but the chance of miscarrying increases.

When she came to us, we were able to help her conceive. And using our pre-implantation genetic diagnosis technology, we were able to analyze the fertilized embryos to make sure they were entirely healthy. This technology allows us to extend the reproductive rates to well beyond the age of 40 and greatly cut down the chance of her having a miscarriage.

The Obstacles

This woman’s story is doubly astounding. Age was the biggest obstacle in this patient getting and staying pregnant. But on top of that, she had been treated for breast cancer.

Sometimes cancer treatments, like chemotherapy or radiation, will decrease the number and quality of eggs a woman produces. Before this patient went through treatment for her breast cancer, we retrieved and froze her eggs in anticipation of potentially having to use in vitro later for her to get pregnant. So she underwent successful treatment for breast cancer, was still able to get pregnant with her own eggs, and went on to have a healthy baby.

The Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility is known for helping older women get pregnant using their own eggs. Egg donation is always an option for older women, but we work extremely hard to help our patients who want to have their own genetic offspring.

For some couples and women who already have their own children, egg donation might not be a particular contention point. For example, an older woman who has already had children, but wants to have a baby at an older age with a new husband, may be much more amendable to using an egg donor. But in this woman’s case, because she was a single mom, it was very important to her to have her own egg and offspring.

If age has become a factor in your ability to get pregnant, contact the Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility today by visiting us online or calling 520-326-0001. Our proven success has made us one of the best clinics in the country, and we look forward to helping you achieve your pregnancy goals.